Phil’s fans begged, and now they have received. Prospect Cole Hamels made his first start in the big leagues Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds. The 22-year old lefty pitched five scoreless innings while striking out seven batters including the legendary Ken Griffey, Jr. Hamels also walked five batters, but only gave up one hit – a double to Felipe Lopez in the fifth. Hamels played his magnificent debut cool, barely showing emotion and approaching it like any other game he’s pitched. After his departure, the man he replaced in the rotation, Ryan Madson came and quickly surrendered two home runs (to Austin Kearns and Edwin Encarnacion) giving away Hamels’ debut win. The game was now tied 3-2 after the sixth inning, but the Phils scored on in the seventh, added one in the eighth, and then blew it open with four more runs in the ninth, including a home run by Shane Victorino.
Shane started of course due to Aaron Rowand’s placement on the 15-day DL after his miraculous catch on Thursday night at CBP (incidentally, he had successful surgery yesterday and is likely out 15-20 days). Victorino took full advantage of the opportunity by going 4-4 with a HBP in the game and claimed afterwards, "I’m just confident at the plate." The youth movement is taking over in Philly with the third call up in a week as Chris Roberson is now on the roster to take Rowand’s spot while he is injured. Roberson pinch ran for Pat Burrell in the ninth inning and scored a run in his ML debut. Ryan Howard also got in on the action by smashing his 10th home run of the season off of Cincinnati starter Elizardo Ramirez, the former Phillie traded for Cory Lidle.
So in the end, the Phillies won their eleventh game out of their last twelve by a score of 8-4. Ryan Madson stole the win on the night to improve his record to 3-1, while Elizardo Ramirez got the loss. After Santana gave up two runs in the 9th, Flash Gordon came in to earn his eleventh save of the season. The Phils are rolling right now, and it looks like Hamels is everything we hoped he would be. Perhaps he is the missing piece of the puzzle to get the Phils into the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Jon Lieber takes the mound for the Phillies tonight to face Dave Williams of the Reds. Go Phils!